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China shares drop amid trade tensions with the US

Key Points
  • Shares in mainland China tumbled on the day amid ongoing tensions between Beijing and Washington.
  • Shares elsewhere in Asia were mixed. Japan and Australian markets rose, while South Korean shares slipped.

Mainland Chinese shares tumbled on Friday amid ongoing tensions between Beijing and Washington.

The Shanghai composite slipped 2.48% to close at 2,882.30 and the Shenzhen component dropped 3.15% to finish its trading day at 9,000.19. The Shenzhen composite fell 3.256% to close at 1,533.22

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index also declined more than 1%, as of its final hour of trading.

Investors had largely priced in the two economic powerhouses to reach a deal this month. Instead, the U.S. hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. China retaliated with higher tariffs on $60 billion worth of goods.

"The tables have turned now and it's going to be increasingly difficult for both sides to find a compromise that is face-saving for both … and benefits both parties," Corrine Png, regional head of equities research at AIA Investment Management, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Friday.

"We expect a deal to be done probably at the end of this year, but it'll probably be a cosmetic deal with limitations on execution and enforcement," Png said. "Both sides can ill-afford to not seal a deal because the implications on the economies, consumer sector ... is gonna be pretty huge."

To exacerbate matters, U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared a national emergency over threats against American technology. In addition, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the addition of Huawei Technologies and its affiliates to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List, making it more difficult for the Chinese telecom giant to conduct business with U.S. companies.

"If carried through, the ramifications would be beyond the financial viability of Huawei; it would cause a sharp deterioration in the relationship between the US and China, severely slow the rolling out of 5G networks around the world in the coming years, and ultimately begin the process of decoupling between the two nations," economists at Singapore's DBS Group Research wrote in a note on Friday.

"Taken to extreme, this would mean a return to the intense cold war decades between the US and USSR ... By decoupling China from US markets and technological knowhow, the goal of this approach would be slow down severely China's rise," they said.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

Shares elsewhere in Asia were mixed.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan added 0.89% to close at 21,250.09, while the Topix index rose 1.09% to finish at 1,554.25 as most sectors gained. Shares of Sony surged 9.89% after the company announced a $1.83 billion share buyback and a new partnership with competitor Microsoft.

In South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.58% to close at 2,055.80, while Australia's ASX 200 added 0.59% to finish its trading day Down Under at 6,365.30.

Overnight on Wall Street, the major indexes closed higher for a third straight day. The gains stateside came on the back of better-than-expected earnings and U.S. economic data. Housing starts for April topped expectations while weekly jobless claims dropped more than expected.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.799 after bouncing from levels below 97.5 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.67 against the dollar after rising from levels below 109.5 in the previous trading session. The Australian dollar was at $0.6887 after touching highs above $0.692 yesterday.

Oil prices increased in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures contract gaining fractionally to $72.66 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures added 0.22% to $63.01 per barrel.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.